Now let’s take a nose dive into this week’s shinanegans, starting with what I (Mike) want to highlight.
Another Epic Step
With developers and publishers watching Epic Games’ play for the Steam crowd with keen interest, this week’s announcement that high-profile shooter Metro Exodus is next in line for PC storefront exclusivity, raised a few eyebrows. Not least those of the publisher Deep Silver’s owners, THQ Nordic.
Deep Silver distributor company and owner the of the Metro IP, Koch Media appear to have closed a deal without the prior knowledge of the THQ bigwigs, resulting in a reactive turnaround in announcment. The deal is a one-year exclusivity affair, but it’s not entirely clear whether it was Deep Silver’s intention to let that be known immediately.
Furthermore, THQ Nordic released their own statement via Twitter:
‘The decision to publish Metro Exodus as a timed Epic Store exclusive was made entirely on Koch Media’s side as Metro is their intellectual property. They are a sister company of THQ Nordic (Vienna), which is the reason why we can and will not comment on this matter. We do not want to categorically exclude the possibility of timed exclusives for any of our games in the future, but speaking in the here and now, we definitely want to have the players choose the platform of their liking and make our portfolio available to as many outlets as possible.‘ – via THQ Nordic’s Twitter account.
Valve responded with the obvious, naturally, but there’s something to be said for the game having being listed on Steam, prior to this deal. Surely the pro-everybody move would be to have this stuff wrapped up before pre-sales opened. Valve are still able to honour Steam pre-orders.
Irrespective, anything that results in more money heading towards the pockets of developers is a good thing, in my mind, but realistically, it’s hard to agree that exclusivity will help achieve this. If there’s a slow migration of PC gamers opting for Epic over Steam, perhaps it might light a fire under Valve. The best result from these dealings would be for developers to get a bigger cut from all platforms, as a result of the competition. That said, a smaller player base has obvious flaws for developers and consumers alike.
As it stands, the seemingly insurmountable lead held by Steam seems to be just that; insurmountable. [via Eurogamer]
Nintendoes Whatever it Wants
The financial results are in for Nintendo’s last quarter and, while the majority of the figures will likely bore the socks off you, the takeaway here is things are going well. Very well, in fact.
Attach rates are extremely high for key software titles (47% for Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, for example), digital sales are on the rise, 8 million subscribers for Nintendo’s online service and 12 million units shifted for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate up to the end of 2018.
In terms of hardware, the Switch now sits at an impressive 32.27 million shipped worldwide. It’s always hard to take too much away from loose statistics but the future’s looking bright for the handheld hybrid. The next step? Seemingly a smaller model this year, if Nikkei’s report [via Gamatsu] is accurate.
It will be interesting to see whether Nintendo feel the need to beef up the hardware come 2020, when we’ll undoubtedly know more about Sony and Microsoft’s plans. With the PS4 continuing its march towards 100 million sales and Xbox Game Pass and other digital revenue streams providing impressive recent results, the next generation is looking like it will be highly competitive given the relative success of the big three.
Call the Doctor… No, no, a Qualified one
Dr Mario World will be Nintendo’s next mobile title, aiming for a Summer 2019 release. Sounds like a great fit for mobile and shouldn’t suffer with touch-only controls so it will be interesting to see how they approach it.
With this, however, came the news that Mario Kart: World Tour has been pushed to a later unspecified release window. Given we know absolutely nothing about the game, that doesn’t really matter. Perhaps it’s being scrapped and reworked like another major IP we heard about last week.
Elsewhere in the Big N mobile-sphere, Fire Emblem: Heroes continues to rake in the money, Super Mario Run does not. [via Nintendo]
Piranha Plant Drops
Update and BANG, Piranha Plant is now available in Smash. And everyone loves it!
Nintendo have updated Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to version 2.0.0. adding tonnes of balancing changes, mostly buffs it would seem. What’s interesting here is, though they’re not the most detailed patch notes, the patch notes that Nintendo have provided are far more detailed than they normally are, which is a nice step in the right direction.
Piranha Plant is no longer tied to a pre-release bonus code as it’s now available as paid DLC, too.
As much as I love the inclusion of such an obscure character, my favourite part of this update is the co-op option for the Spirit Board. This will definitely breathe new life into the only mode collecting dust for my son and I. [via Polygon]
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition Switchbound
Next up, it’s our lord (“who’s Arnold?”), Reggie, with his thoughts:
In a surprise move by THQ Nordic, the remastered (OK, slightly updated textures) iteration of Darksiders 1, featuring ‘War’, is seeing a release on Nintendo Switch this month.
Whilst a subset of console owners probably own this already via Xbox Games with Gold / Game Pass / having an awesome games collection, it’s important to note that a great deal of Switch owners have never touched the Zelda-esque franchise. Maybe this is a hint to the future of the series coming to Nintendo’s flagship? It wouldn’t be the first time Darksiders has appeared on a Nintendo console, with Darksiders 2 appearing on the Wii U a few years back.
What do you mean? The Wii U? You remember, right? [Darksiders Offical YouTube Channel]
References / Sources:
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-01-28-epics-latest-pc-exclusive-is-metro-exodus (viewed 03/02/19)
https://twitter.com/THQNordic/status/1090217923434737664 (viewed 03/02/19)
https://gematsu.com/2019/01/nikkei-smaller-switch-due-out-in-2019 (viewed 03/02/19)
https://r.nikkei.com/article/DGXMZO4075094031012019TJ1000?s=3 (viewed 03/02/19)
https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/index.html (viewed 03/02/19)
https://www.polygon.com/2019/1/29/18203008/super-smash-bros-ultimate-piranha-plant-release-date-dlc (viewed 03/02/19)